Friday, 18 April 2014

Blog Tour Stop & Guest Post ~ The Army of the Lost by Lily Herne





Hello and welcome to stop of the tour: The Army of the Lost (Mallrats #3) by Lily Herne. I am so excited about this book and tour!! Why am I super stoked you ask??? Well this author duo is South African and it's a paranormal book that is based in South Africa... 


Lets get this show on the road!



Title: The Army of the Lost
Series: Mallrats #3
Publisher: Much-in-Little
Publication date: 17th April 2014
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy
Length: 336 pages

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Goodreads synopsis:

One of us is dead, one of us is broken, one of us will betray the others and one of us will have to sell her soul to survive . . .



Eleven years after South Africa was ravaged by the walking dead, most of Johannesburg's survivors are forced to scratch out a living in the filth of Sandtown, an enclave in the old Sandton City mall, ruled over by a minority of rich, self-serving bureaucrats. Tommy, a bullied fourteen-year-old Sandtownite, dreams of joining the Army of the Left, a radical organisation intent on setting the city free of the dead that lurch around its walls. But fate has other plans for him . . .

Betrayed by one of their closest allies and sold to the highest bidder, Lele, Ash, Ember and Ginger - the remaining Mall Rats - find themselves sucked into the dark heart of Jozi's twisted political system. While Ash is forced to face his traumatic past and Ginger struggles to regain his sanity, Lele goes head to head against Jozi's most powerful manipulator - a man who has sinister plans for her. Meanwhile, left for dead on the outskirts of Jozi, Saint begins her own journey. A journey that she hopes will provide the answers to all of the Mall Rats' unanswered questions ...






Guest post by: Savannah Lotz 
(one half of the collaborative duo who writes under the name Lily Herne)

Proper Care and Feeding of Your Writer Friend: Tips and Guidelines

Congratulations! So you’ve got your first writer friend. This is not a responsibility to be taken lightly, so here are my top tips to make sure you have a long and happy relationship:

1)      Writer Proofing Your House 

This is especially important when your writer friend has deadlines approaching, is in the middle of crazy rewrites or has received a bad review. When your writer friend visits your home, make sure there are no sharp objects within easy reach and that all poisonous substances are securely put away. You should be fully stocked up on coffee, chocolate and alcohol. I find it is also useful to have a recorded marathon of RuPaul’s Drag Race or Project Runway on standby.

 2)      Feeding Your Writer Friend

 Your writer friend may wish to live on a diet of cake and coffee but this is NOT okay. It is your responsibility to make sure that they at least have a potato or an apple or something every few weeks or so. You could try giving them a bit of cheese with the potato, that might work? And chocolate. Contrary to popular belief chocolate is very good for writers. So give them lots of that. Please.

 3)      Socialising and Walking Your Writer Friend

Though there are exceptions to the rule, most writers are a reclusive breed and it may take considerable coaxing to get one to leave its writing den. It is important to encourage your writer friend to go outside, talk to real people (not just those  inside its writer’s head), and to do some exercise (even if it does mean you have to listen to them brag-plain while doing so). It may be best not to let your writer friend near any small children unless you know they are comfortable with them. If you do find them forced into a space with children watch their body language to see if they are comfortable and make appropriate soothing noises.

 4)      Talking to Your Writer Friend

 You will inevitably be asked by your writer friend for advice on their work. Be careful, some writers do not take well to criticism, however tactfully worded, and may snap if you point out a plot hole they have not foreseen. However, be firm, and if they sulk, lock them in a dark room with nothing but a copy of The Da Vinci Code as punishment. Your opinions and suggestions could save a writer from their block (there is sadly no known inoculation for writer’s block, a condition that is almost as fatal as other writerly conditions, such as  obsessive self-googling disorder and Twitter panic). The ‘Drop it/Leave it’ command is an especially useful tool if your writer friend is obsessing over a bad review, is procrastinating by sending you silly links to online quizzes or has not left their writing room in days.

 5)      Deworming Your Writer Friend.

Okaaaaay, I don’t know what kind of writer friend you’re talking about here but if you absolutely MUST deworm your writer friend for any reason, I find sneaking the tablet into a red velvet cupcake always works well.

And remember, a writer friend is for life and not just for Christmas or book launch parties (where there’s generally free wine – just saying).



About the Author:

Lily Herne is the name for mother-daughter writing duo Sarah and Savannah Lotz. With Sarah being one half of horror writer S.L. Grey, together the pair have best-selling writing experience coupled with sharp-edged teen insight. Sarah lives in Cape Town, South Africa, and Savannah lives in Norwich, UK.

Follow Lily on Twitter: @Herne13
I loved that guest post! I think I will be sending a copy of these guidelines to all my friends when I get published! 

I will add that I am quite excited that a copy of this book is on it's way to me.. (if I haven't received it already by the time this post goes live) compliments of Much-In-Little Publishing *happy dance* watch this space for my review!


Love

Chanzie


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Thursday, 17 April 2014

Tour Stop, Guest Post & Giveaway: Phantom Dreams by TK Harris




Hello and welcome to my tour stop for Phantom Dreams hosted by GMTA Publishing! To check out the rest of the tour schedule - Click HereI am quite excited to read this book and see what TK has to say in her guest posts. I love guest posts and both were so awesome I decided to include both for those people who are like me and love to know where it all started and writing tips for newbies. To top it off - Don't forget to enter the competition to win a copy of this awesome book!

Title: Phantom Dreams
Author: T.K. Harris
Release Day: June 6th, 2013
Genre: Paranormal Thriller, Mystery, Suspense


Buy links:

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Blurb

FBI Special Agent Jack Matthews finds himself on yet another serial killer case, having barely recovered from the last disastrous hunt. Still stiff from a gun shot wound in his leg, under investigation for a botched job, and having lost his fiancée when she walked out on him, Jack is beginning to wonder if it isn’t time to move on to something new. But, for Jack, these cases are personal and he can’t say no. 


Marketing specialist Kathy Gilliam leads a fairly boring life. If she’s not working or caring for her ailing father, then she is doing whatever it takes to avoid going anywhere near crowds of people. Her few distractions include her friend Margo Longfellow, occasional hiking trips, and her increasingly alarming dreams of women dying.


As her nightmares cause her to begin to doubt her sanity, the media releases news of the “Coast-to-Coast Killer” and Kathy discovers her dreams may be related. In a moment of panic, Kathy does something that places her on the FBI’s “persons of interest” list. Suddenly, her life is set on a collision course with Jack who must decide if Kathy is the killer or destined to become a victim.




Phantom Dreams ~ How it started

What Inspired Me to Write Phantom Dreams

It started with a dream.  I know cliché right?  But it really did.  I had a dream that I was walking through a large crowd of people, surrounded by white canvas tents.  I am moving quickly but don't know why, when suddenly the crowd parts and there is a man in front of me, carrying a sword and it is aimed right at me.  Then, just as quickly, the woman is no longer me and I am now watching.  I woke up before the sword drove home.  And that's how Phantom Dreams was born.

I wish I could say that I wrote it all down in a flash and everything just worked itself out.  BUT, that didn't happen.  First it percolated in my brain while I went about being a full-time mother while working a 60 hour a week job.  (And that was a short week!).   And then, I began writing down bits and pieces late at night in between trying to write and publish stories.  Only to become more and more frustrated.   First, the stories that I had sold to date were short stories.  In fact, the first publication I had ever been paid for was a 1200 word mystery sold to mysterynet.net.  But it is a very different skill set to go from short stories to a full-length novel.  I was good at cutting to the chase, getting to the point and well, you know the rest.  So, I floundered. 

For the next few years I put most of my effort into my work, family, multitude of projects (I'm a Gemini and we can't help it), subsequent divorce, the 2008/2009 job fiasco, and the many other awesomely awful and wonderful things that life carelessly threw in my path and laughingly under my feet to see how many times it could make me fall.  (I still have scars!)  And, sometimes I would work on my book.  And then, one day, I got frustrated for a different reason. And, then, I got mad.  And, then, I got focused. I made myself sit down and write a list of what I wanted out of life.  My ideal job.  My ideal partner.  My ideal finances.  My projects.  And I wrote those lists and decided to start focusing.  My first project was paying of debt (still working on that!). The second was finishing the d*m# book!  The right way.  (Or is it the "write" way? – Feel free to groan.)

I put the book out to readers.  Got feedback.  And then began the arduous task of editing, rewriting and editing some more.   And then began putting it out there on Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Kobo, etc.  I got a great review on Kirkus Reviews and started getting great comments.  I have marketed, tweaked it, re-edited it and developed a new book cover since but I still remember my first "real" sell.  Not the books that were bought by friends and family.  No.  It was that one sell when you realized someone you didn't know, bought it.   And now, all I can ask myself is, why didn't I do this sooner?



~~~


Writing Tips for "New" Writers
(In 12 Easy Steps.  Ha!)

Whether you've been writing for years or just getting started, we can all use a little help.  Though I have sold several short stories and finally published a novel, I can't give you the same kind of tips as a pro.  I won't even try!  For that, I think one of the best books I've read is Stephen King's "On Writing".  It’s a weird mash of autobiographical information with a heaping dose of practical advice toward the end.  If you haven't read it, read it.  If you haven't bought it, buy it.  It's worth it.

Ok, now for advice from a newbie published author. 

I tried it all I think.  Outlines, freeform writing, story boarding, classes, articles, books, writing while upside down chanting yoga like prayers…Ok, maybe not that last part.  But I may just have to try it the next time I'm staring at the screen with a "deer in the headlight" expression.  Everyone works differently.  But I really hate when an "advice" piece says something like that, or "just try it until you find something that works for you".  You can.  But, sometimes you want to say "Just tell me already!". 

So, here goes. 

Step 1)  Type up a character sheet on each character. Its ok if they change as you go.  But at least have the basics such as full name, age, hair and eye color, etc.  Do this for every character. 

Step 2) Find a wall, a board, it doesn't matter.  Just find a place where you can put up your character profiles and a bunch of 3 x 5 cards and they can stay.  For months if need be.  (I used my dinning room for awhile and then my bedroom wall).  My suggestion is to use paint safe tape or thumb tacks (because both can be pulled off and reused numerous times – although the tape leaves no marks).   This wall should really be close to where you write, maybe across the room so you have to get up and stretch your legs and rest your eyes.  But not too far away.

Step 3)  Write.  Write until you finish your story or novel or opus magnum.  Don't stop, don't rethink.  Write.  With ONE exception.  When you've finished that paragraph, chapter, or even just your 7 words for the day, grab a 3 x 5 card, a pen, and highlighter(s) and write down the relevant pieces of information (by chapter or scene) that occurred.  For me this was the major points in the each chapter of Phantom Dreams such as who lead what scene, any deaths that occurred, how, and who died.  (You'd be surprised how quickly your dead bodies get mixed up!).  You can use the highlighter to highlight things like when a major turning point occurred.  In my case, I used red to highlight each killing and Kathy's escalating dreams. 
NUMBER the cards sequentially.  Either by chapter or scene and try not to put too much information on these.  These note cards and character profiles are going to do a couple of things for you later on. 

Step 4)  Use the cards as reference points to keep you on track and remembering things like what your character looks like and how old they are.  (Kathy changed age in my first draft 5 times! Obviously I didn't start out with Step 1. :/ )

Step 5)  You've finished your first draft!  Have a glass of wine, beer, or whatever.  Put your manuscript and your cards up.  Celebrate.  And then ignore that manuscript for at least a month.  Two months is better.  And find another project.  Try something new to help refill your creative well.  You're going to need it…


Because this is a blog and I'm supposed to keep it short, if you're interested in receiving the entire article and the next 7 steps, simply contact me at: https://www.tkharrisonline.com and go to the contact page OR   my Phantom Dreams page on Facebook and leave a comment requesting the article. 

You can also just stop by to say "hi"! 

Author Bio:
T.K. Harris was born in California and lived a gypsy sort of life traveling the world as a military brat. She has been writing since she was a child and as had several short stories published by various magazines, including one in Woman's World. She currently lives and works in Colorado as a Senior Solutions Architect and IT Instructor and has recently had her first novel, Phantom Dreams, published. She is looking forward to her next two books, already outlined and partially written.


Author links:

~ Giveaway ~

How to enter:
1. You must use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter this giveaway.
2. You may choose one option or all options on the rafflecopter. Each option is worth one or more entries into the giveaway.
3. For each option you choose: click on the number with the down arrow FIRST, follow the instructions, fill out the required information and then click on “Enter.”
4. The giveaway ends on 17 May 2014 12am (GMT +2).
5. At the conclusion of the giveaway, I will verify all entries.
6. Once the verification process is complete, I will use the Rafflecopter widget to select the winner and contact her/him.
7. The winner will have 48 hours from the notification email to respond with her/his full name and mailing address. If I do not receive a response, the prize will be forfeited and another winner will be selected. Please be sure to check your spam filters!




Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #1 ~ Scala & Avoiding Alpha


Waiting on 
Wednesday


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine where I have the chance to spotlight an upcoming release that I’m eagerly anticipating

Scala
by Christina Bauer

Author: Christina Bauer
Series: Angelbound #2
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Expected Publication: 13th May 2014

Goodreads Synopsis
Nineteen-year-old Myla Lewis has transformed into the Great Scala, the only being with the power to move human souls to Heaven or Hell. Although she no longer fights demons in the Arena, Myla still has tons of ass-kicking to do as she redefines the afterlife and rebuilds Purgatory's government. Unfortunately, her world falls apart faster than she can put it together. An enemy out of Myla's past is sapping her powers, making her weaker by the day. Even worse, her angel bound-love Lincoln has mysteriously disappeared. As her true enemy becomes clear, Myla discovers that all the after-realms are at risk. After losing so much power, does she still have the strength to save her world?




Avoiding Alpha
by Aileen Erin

Author: Aileen Erin
Series: Alpha Girl #2
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Expected Publication: 13th May 2014

Goodreads Synopsis
Seventeen-year-old Tessa McCaide has come a long way since her abrupt entrance into the world of werewolves, but she still has a way to go before she’s comfortable with going full-wolf. So, she’s avoiding thinking about it any way she can. Thankfully her hot mate, Dastien Larent, is proving to be quite the distraction.

But when she finds her suitemate getting sick in their bathroom, she knows something’s majorly wrong. The curse on Meredith that suppresses her wolf is slowly killing her, and Tessa can’t sit idly by while her best friend wastes away. Going against her pack Alpha, Mr. Dawson, by playing with magic she doesn’t fully understand might not be her smartest move, but Tessa has never been one to follow the rules. She’ll break every one if it’ll give her a chance at saving Meredith. But can she save her friend without losing more of herself?



What are you waiting for? 
Please leave a comment below with your WoW link so I can check out yours too!!

Thank you for stopping by and checking out my post!
~ Have a great Wednesday ~





Monday, 14 April 2014

Book Review: Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X #1) by Richelle Mead

Series: Age of X #1
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Publication Date: 04 June 2013
Genre: 
Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Sci-fi
MWYA Book of the month
Audio or Book: Book
Length:  448 pages

Goodreads Synopsis:

In a futuristic world nearly destroyed by religious extremists, Justin March lives in exile after failing in his job as an investigator of religious groups and supernatural claims. But Justin is given a second chance when Mae Koskinen comes to bring him back to the Republic of United North America (RUNA). Raised in an aristocratic caste, Mae is now a member of the military’s most elite and terrifying tier, a soldier with enhanced reflexes and skills.

When Justin and Mae are assigned to work together to solve a string of ritualistic murders, they soon realize that their discoveries have exposed them to terrible danger. As their investigation races forward, unknown enemies and powers greater than they can imagine are gathering in the shadows, ready to reclaim the world in which humans are merely game pieces on their board.

Gameboard of the Gods, the first installment of Richelle Mead’s Age of Xseries, will have all the elements that have made her YA Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series such mega-successes: sexy, irresistible characters; romantic and mythological intrigue; and relentless action and suspense.



My Review:
I was so excited to find an excuse to read this book and squeeze it into my schedule when it won my Book Of The Month poll for March. I have wanted to read Gameboard of the Gods since before it was even released! 


I was a bit nervous trying out this book initially when I skimmed a few reviews and saw some positive and negative points. The book starts off interestingly enough - I was not completely captivated but very intrigued by the concepts and opening scenes. 


The story is quite an adventure of the future, mixed with the gods of mythology and a some chemistry. It's exciting and keep you on your toes. Mae's journey is a unique one, where she is your strong, closed off heroine, paired up with the smart, witty, exiled Justin. Together they need to solve a string of murders, while dealing with each other.  

Characters: 4.5/5
Richelle creates well rounded and likable characters. They are unique, intriguing and easy to become involved with. 

Mae - Mae is a fascinating and lovable character. She takes her position as a soldier of the Republic very seriously and can seriously kick some butt! She has walls and secrets that I could not wait to unravel. I connected with Mae easily and loved her more and more as the story progressed. 

Justin - Justin is a great character. I loved that he is smart, witty and observant. Justin is extremely talented. The raven voices in his mind are interesting and I was not sure where they fitted into the story, as well as the agreement he made with someone. He has an internal struggle that he is battling with and it is interesting to see how it unfolds. 

I was continuously rooting for Justin and Mae. I liked them together. I cannot wait to see where there story goes in The Immortal Crown.
Tessa - Tessa is smart and observant. It is almost as if she is  Justin's protégé. She challenges Justin's skills and keeps him on his toes in a good way. She is a primitive character compared to the people who live in RUNA. I enjoyed seeing her grow and develop throughout the story. 

Plot, Pace, Writing style: 4.5/5  
There are continuously questions that get raised during the story as it unfolds. The pace is moderate but consistent. A lot of groundwork is laid, but you are kept intrigued. Richelle has grown as a writer tremendously since the VA series. I love the twists Richelle weaves in the story using Nordic mythology - this delivers a compelling story

Cover talk: 3/5 The cover is ok. I can see the connections to the story now that I have read it - but it did not really wow me at all.


Final Thoughts: I enjoyed this first book in the series and am super excited to see where Richelle takes the rest of the series. 


My Rating:



Favourite Quotes
"From the way Justin stared at the city's skyline, you would've thought they were flying to some golden city in the clouds that was populated by angels and unicorns. There was an emotion she'd never seen in his eyes, an ache that was radically different from the cynical air that usually followed him around."
Books in the series













Other books by this Author:














Author Bio:


Scorpio Richelle Mead is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy books for both adults and teens. Originally from Michigan, Richelle now lives in Seattle, Washington where she works on her three series full-time: Georgina Kincaid, Dark Swan, and Vampire Academy.

A life-long reader, Richelle has always loved mythology and folklore. When she can actually tear herself away from books (either reading or writing them), she enjoys bad reality TV, traveling, trying interesting cocktails, and shopping for dresses. She's a self-professed coffee addict and has a passion for all things wacky and humorous.




Author Links: Goodreads l Twitter l website


Love

Chanzie